Grassroots campaign wants Google out of Chamber

WASHINGTON: Grassroots consumer group SumOfUs.org is pressuring Google to drop out of the US Chamber of Commerce.

WASHINGTON: Grassroots consumer group SumOfUs.org is pressuring Google to drop out of the US Chamber of Commerce.

SumOfUs has delivered a petition with nearly 200,000 signatures to Google's Washington headquarters. Protesters, some dressed as the Google Android logo, marched from the chamber's offices to Google's DC headquarters to deliver the petition on Wednesday.

The organization launched the campaign last month to urge the search engine giant to follow through on statements it made that it was considering leaving the Chamber of Commerce because of its support for The Stop Online Piracy Act.

The bill, which is supported by a range of entertainment companies, would create stronger enforcement mechanisms to fight online piracy. However, critics counter that it would give law enforcement authorities the ability to shut down their sites too easily.

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt acknowledged the movement at a recent event at NYU's Stern Business School.

“There are plenty of things we disagree with the [Chamber of Commerce] on. But I'll let the petition continue and see what happens,” he reportedly said.

SumOfUs considered Schmidt's acknowledgement a victory. “We know we're getting through,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, founder and president of the organization.

The campaign is attempting to reach Google employees through GoogleQuitTheChamber.org and targeted Facebook ads. It is also working with agency Fitzgibbon Media to alert the press of the campaign's progress.

Fitzgibbon has specifically targeted technology reporters and bloggers, said Rachel Tardiff, a media relations strategist at the firm.

“We're using this campaign as a way to harness the sheer economic power of millions of consumers across the globe to usher in a new atmosphere of corporate accountability and responsibility, which Google has been responsive to in the past and will hopefully continue to take into consideration on this campaign,” said Stinebrickner-Kauffman.

Press officers from Google and the Chamber of Commerce did not return requests for comment.

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